|Publication number||US4606247 A|
|Application number||US 06/776,426|
|Publication date||Aug 19, 1986|
|Filing date||Sep 16, 1985|
|Priority date||Sep 16, 1985|
|Also published as||CA1253661A, CA1253661A1, DE3672932D1, EP0216441A2, EP0216441A3, EP0216441B1|
|Publication number||06776426, 776426, US 4606247 A, US 4606247A, US-A-4606247, US4606247 A, US4606247A|
|Inventors||Charles H. Graham|
|Original Assignee||Professional Business Management Associates|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (15), Referenced by (8), Classifications (12), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to hand tools, and more particularly to a set of tools wherein each tool is linked together to form a collapsible chain which can be used in selecting one of the tools, and which is used as a hand piece when performing work with a tool.
Many types of tool sets have been devised over the years. For example, tools sets which provide multiple sizes of open-end wrenches, or tool sets which provide various size sockets together with a socket drive and ratchet, or which provide multiple types and sizes of screwdrivers, or various size allen wrenches or the like are common in the art. Frequently when a person is engaged in work, it is convenient or necessary to have different types and sizes of wrenches, screwdrivers or other such hand tools available. For example, at times, it may be necessary to use selected combinations of tools for certain jobs. However, this requires carrying a large number of tools, which is both inconvenient and sometimes impractical. Furthermore, often it is difficult to keep track of the various tools provided with a set, with the result that sometimes parts to the set become lost. Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to find a particular size tool when it is needed for a job.
In summary, while it is convenient and often necessary to have various types of tool sets readily available on the job so that different sizes and kinds of tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers and the like will be readily accessible, it is inconvenient to have to carry numerous tools and it is also frequently difficult to keep track of the tools. Another problem frequently encountered is the difficulty required in changing from one tool to another within a given set. This often requires disconnecting and reconnecting parts, which may be cumbersome and time consuming.
In view of the foregoing needs and problems arising in connection with the present state of the art, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a versatile chained tool set which provides in a single hand piece a plurality of tools which can be changed in rapid succession from one tool to the other.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a versatile tool set in which various sizes and/or types of tools may be provided on a single hand piece so as to avoid any loose parts in the tool set which can be lost or misplaced.
Another important object of the present invention is to provide a versatile tool set in which the various tools can be rapidly interchanged without the need for removing, reconnecting or replacing parts on the hand piece.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a versatile tool set which is formed as a single hand piece and which is both compact and durable.
Still another important object of the present invention is to provide a versatile tool set in which each of the tools are attached to a single hand piece and wherein special combinations of tools may be selected and attached to the hand piece for purposes of providing specific tool sets for any given special application which requires a certain combination of tools.
The foregoing and other objects and features are realized in the present invention, which comprises a versatile chained tool set. Briefly summarized, the chained tool set of this invention comprises a set of tools consisting of any desired working tips such as an open-end wrench, a box-end wrench, fractional or metric wrenches, socket drives, spline drives, spanner wrenches, screwdrivers of all styles, tools such as taps, easy outs, allen wrenches or other similar tools. Each tool is formed as part of a link and each link is joined to an adjacent tool link. When using one of the tools, the chain can be collapsed to form a rigid and strong hand piece which can be used to apply the torque or other force necessary to operate the tool. When interchanging one tool for another, the chain can be opened and rotated to select a new tool. The chained tool set is designed so that if desired any or all of the tool links can be disconnected one from the other so that new or different sized tools can be added into the chain, or so that worn tools can be removed and replaced.
Reference is next made to a brief description of the drawings, which illustrate several presently preferred embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view in which a portion of a chained tool set constructed in accordance with the present invention has been depicted in order to illustrate the basic inventive concept of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a complete chained tool set with the chain in an open configuration.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the chained tool set of FIG. 2 in a configuration wherein the chain has been collapsed to form a hand piece which can be used to operate a selected tool.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 wherein one of the tool links and connecting pins has been shown in exploded perspective to more fully illustrate the manner in which the various tool links are connected to form the chained tool set of the present invention.
FIGS. 5-7 are enlarged perspective views showing portions of a tool link which have been broken away to more fully illustrate alternative structures for linking the chain such that tool links can be disconnected one from the other for purposes of adding or replacing tool links in the chain.
FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view with portions broken away so as to illustrate yet another embodiment of a tool link that may be used in the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view illustrating still another embodiment of the chained tool set of the present invention in which different types of tools have been linked together to form the chain.
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 10--10 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view illustrating still another embodiment of the present invention.
Reference is next made to a detailed description of the presently preferred embodiments as illustrated in the above-described drawings, wherein like parts are designated with like numerals throughout.
Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, one presently preferred embodiment of the chained tool set of the present invention is generally designated at 20. As shown in FIG. 2, the chained tool set 20 may be linked together to form an endless loop. In the alternative, the chained tool set 20 may be disconnected between a pair of adjacent links so as to form simply a straight chain, a portion of which is illustrated in FIG. 1. Either configuration is within the scope of the present invention.
As shown best in FIGS. 1 and 2, the chained tool set 20 comprises a plurality of tool links generally designated at 22a-22f. Each of the tool links 22 may be essentially identically formed so as to provide the same type of tool with each tool having a different size, such as the open-end wrench set illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, or as hereinafter more fully described, each tool link 22 may be formed so as to provide a different type of tool such as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 discussed below. The tool links 22 can be manufactured using any suitable method, such as casting, machining, drop forging, investment casting or centrifugal casting. The tools can be constructed of any material suitable for a particular job or application such as steel with a finish of chrome, zinc, nickel or the like. Plastics may be used in forming the tool links when they are to be used in applications such as assembling childrens' plastic toys or the like. In cases where factors such as strength and weight govern over cost considerations, materials such as titanium or high strength polymer materials may be used.
With reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, each tool link 22 comprisess two side members 24 and 25 which are attached to and formed as an integral part of the working tip of a tool. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1-4 each tool link 22 comprises a tool which is configured as a open-end wrench. Each tool has a working tip 28 which, in the case of FIGS. 1-4 consists of the mouth of the open-end wrench and a shank 26 attached at the base of the working tip 28. As shown in FIG. 1, the shank of an adjacent tool is designed in terms of its length, width and height so that it interlocks with the mouth of an adjacent tool. As hereinafter more fully described, this arrangement helps to provide strength and rigidity when the chain is folded or collapsed and used as a hand piece for purposes of applying torque or other force to a selected tool, since the torsional bending moment on the connecting pins 34 is thereby reduced.
With reference again to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 each tool link 22 is pivotally connected to an adjacent tool link by means of connecting links 32 and pins 34. As shown best in FIG. 4, the pins 34 are inserted through holes 35 which are provided at the ends of side members 24 and 25 of each tool link 22. The connecting links 32 are designed to be inserted in the space provided between side members 24 and 25, and connecting links 32 are also provided with corresponding holes 36 which receive the connecting pins 34. Pins 34 are constructed with a diameter which is large enough to provide a snug friction fit when inserted in the holes 35 and 36 of tool links 22 and connecting links 32. As hereinafter more fully described, pins 34 may be removed when it is desired to add additional tools into the chain and/or when it is desired to remove and replace worn tools.
As shown in FIG. 1, the working tip 28 of each tool extends from the end of one tool link and overlaps the end of an adjacent tool link. This helps to ensure that when the tool links 22 are connected together the pivoting action will be restrained so that the tool links will only be able to pivot in one direction. This helps to provide rigidity when using the chained tool set, particularly if the chained tool set is used in a configuration such as that illustrated in FIG. 1 where the chain is straight rather than forming a loop as in the case of FIG. 2. Thus, with the embodiment of FIG. 1, if the chained tool set 20 is held so that the open-end wrench of each tool link 22 faces downwardly, the chain will maintain a rigid, linear configuration since the tool links cannot rotate downwardly when the chained tool set 20 is in that position.
When the chained tool set 20 is connected to form an endless loop as in the case of FIG. 2, each tool link can be pivoted so as to open the chain as illustrated in FIG. 2. When a particular tool is selected the chain can then be folded or collapsed as shown in FIG. 3 to form two parallel rows of tool links which serve as a rigid hand piece that is very strong and which can be firmly grasped when applying the torque or other force necessary to operate the tool. It will also be appreciated as illustrated in FIG. 3 that when so collapsed, the tool 22f and 22c at either end of the collapsed chain may be in a working position similar to a conventional open-end wrench. Another advantage provided by the hand piece which is formed when the chain is collapsed as shown in FIG. 3 arises from the fact that the hand piece typically has a thickness much greater than a typical wrench and therefore is much easier to grip so that greater force can be applied. It should also be noted that in the embodiment of FIG. 1 wherein the chain is straight rather than being connected as a loop, the chain can still be folded over to form a hand piece having at least two parallel rows of tool links as depicted in FIG. 3.
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 each illustrate alternative ways in which adjacent tool links 22 can be connected. As shown in FIG. 5, the pin 34a may be threaded at one end 29 and provided with a slot 27 at the other end thereof so that the pin 34a can be screwed into one of the side members 25. When it is desired to add additional tool links or to replace worn tools the pin 34a can then be unscrewed and removed so as to disconnect the tool links.
An alternative arrangement for connecting adjacent tool links is shown in FIG. 6. As there illustrated, each connecting pin 34b is provided with a notch 31 and each connecting link 32' is provided with a corresponding slot 33 so that a retainer clip 37 can be clipped onto the connecting link 32' to engage the notch 31 of each connecting pin 34b. Retaining clip 37 is formed on its sides so that the leading ends 23 are bent inwardly whereas the middle portion 21 of the sides are bowed out, thus providing a compression or spring-like action which holds the retaining clip 37 in place once the portions 21 engage the notches 31 of connecting pins 34b. The retaining clip 37 can then be removed when it is desired to remove the connecting pins 34b for purposes of adding or replacing tools in the chain.
In the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the connecting pin 34c is designed so as to permanently connect adjacent tool links. Connecting pin 34c comprises enlarged head members 39 at opposite ends thereof which may be formed after insertion of the pin by any of several techniques which are common in the art. Thus, in the embodiment of FIG. 7, once the tool links are connected to form the chain, they may not be removed or replaced. It will therefore be appreciated that the chained tool set of the present invention may be provided with tool links which are either capable of being disconnected or which are permanently attached to one another.
As mentioned in the background portion of this specification, at times it may be necessary or desirable to use selected combinations of tools for certain jobs. For example, it may be desirable to provide a customized tool set which would be particularly suitable for cyclists. Included in such a tool set would be times such as a spoke wrench, bearing spanner wrenches, a box-end wrench for pedal crank hubs and so forth. As will be appreciated, using the connecting pin arrangement as illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 or as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, it is possible to easily change or replace the type of tools provided on the chain wrench so that a customized tool set can be provided. In some applications, it may also be desirable to provide customized tool sets for use in assembling and/or maintaining certain types of machinery or equipment. In those instances, specially designed tool sets may be provided using embodiments of the present invention which either provide for interchangeability of tool links as in the case of the embodiments of FIGS. 1-6, or using tool links which are permanently joined and are not interchangeable as in the case of the embodiment of FIG. 7. In either case, it is within the scope of the present invention to provide chained tool sets which comprise either the same type of tool with the size of the tools varying or a combination of different types of tools as shown and as described more fully below in connection with the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 9-10.
Reference is next made to FIG. 8. FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of a tool link which can be used to increase the rigidity and strength of the hand piece that is formed when the chain is collapsed as shown in FIG. 3. In FIG. 8, two tool links are generally designated at 40a and 40b. Each tool link 40 comprises a working tip 28, which in FIG. 8 is shown as an open-end wrench as illustrated at 28a and 28b, respectively. As in the case of the previously described embodiments, each tool link 40 is formed as an integral piece. However, unlike the embodiments described above, in FIG. 8 each tool link 40 is constructed so that the side members 24 and 25 are joined to each other by a support member 41 formed toward the middle and between side members 24 and 25. The support member 41 has a semicircular slot 44 formed in it.
As shown in connection with tool link 40a which is illustrated to the left in FIG. 8, a circular disk 52 may be provided in the slot 44 of every other tool link 40. The circular disk 52 is secured within the slot 44 by means of a retaining pin 48 which is received through holes 46 formed in the top and bottom of the semicircular slot 44, as shown best in tool link 40b of FIG. 8. Retaining pin 48 may comprise a compression type pin constructed of spring steel with a seam-like gap 50 formed along its length which allows the retaining pin 48 to be compressed and inserted into the holes 46 provided at the top and bottom of the semicircular slot 44 as well as the corresponding hole provided in the disk 52.
The disk 52 functions as a key which engages the semicircular slot 44 of an adjacent tool link. Accordingly, as shown best in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 10, when the chain is collapsed to form the hand piece which is gripped for purposes of operating a tool, the disk 52 engages the semicircular slot 44 of the adjacent tool link which then serves to hold the adjacent tool links so as to prevent them from slipping either longitudinally or laterally with respect to one another. As will be appreciated, this serves to provide additional strength and rigidity to the hand piece when using a selected tool. Moreover, the additional support member 41 which connects the side members 24 and 25 of each tool link 40 serves to provide additional strength and rigidity.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 10, each tool link 60a-60f of the chained tool set is similar to the tool links 40a and 40b described in FIG. 8, except with respect to the manner in which the working tips 62a-62f are secured to the tool links. In the embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 10, each tool link 60 is provided with a pair of arms 64 and 65 which extend outwardly and are formed as integral parts of the side members 24 and 25 of each link. The arms 64 and 65 are each provided with holes at their forward ends which receive a pivot pin 68 which is used to secure the tool between the arms 64 and 65. Thus, each tool comprises a suitable base 66 which has a bore through the base for receiving the pivot pin 68. Extending from the base 66a of each tool is the working tip 62a for the particular type of tool desired. Thus, as shown in FIG. 9 tool 62a is a conventional screwdriver tip, tool 62b is a conventional socket drive, tool 66c has a working tip formed as a conventional allen wrench, tool 62e (FIG. 10) is a phillips screwdriver tip and tool 62f has a working tip formed as a box-end wrench. In each case the base 66 of the tool is designed to swivel about the pivot pin 68 which secures the tool base 66 between the arms 64 and 65 of the tool link 60. Thus, as illustrated by the phantom line position for allen wrench 62c in FIG. 9, each tool may be positioned in one of several positions when using the tool to perform work.
As shown best in FIG. 10, the position for each tool is secured by means of the pivot pin 68, which is provided with a plurality of detents 70 about its periphery. The detents 70 are engaged by a ball 72 that is held by a spring 74. Spring 74 in turn is secured by a threaded plug 76 which may be screwed into a bore 78 provided along the length of the arms 64 and 65. Accordingly, each tool will click into position as it is swiveled about the pivot pin 68 to a point where the ball 72 will engage one of the detents 70 provided on the pivot pin 68. As will be appreciated, the embodiment of FIG. 9 therefore has the added advantage that any tool provided on the chained tool set can be moved to a working position rather than having to move the particular tool to the end of the chain as in the case of the embodiments previously described. Thus, for example, screwdriver 62a could also be swiveled about the pivot pin 68 to the same position shown by allen wrench 62c so that either tool could be used without having to move the screwdriver 62a to the end of the chain.
In the embodiment of FIG. 11, each tool link 60 is essentially the same as the tool links described in FIGS. 9 and 10 except that in the embodiment of FIG. 11 the arms 86 and 88 to which the working tips 62 are secured are mounted to the tool link by means of screws 90. As shown in FIG. 11, the arms 86 and 88 between which the base 66 of the tool are pivotally secured by pin 68 are formed as part of a C-shaped member 82. Member 82 is provided with holes 84 through which the screws 90 engage threaded holes 92 provided on the side members 24 and 25 of the tool link. This embodiment thus provides an alternative arrangement which permits different types of tools to be quickly and easily changed on the chain.
From the foregoing, it should be appreciated that the present invention thus provides a versatile tool set comprised of tool links connected together to form a chain which provides in a single hand piece a plurality of tools which can be changed in rapid succession from one tool to the other. The chained tool set of the present invention is compact and versatile in that the various tools can be replaced and/or additional tools can be added to the chain, and is convenient since there are no loose parts in the tool set which can be lost or misplaced. In use, any tool can be selected and used without the need for removing, reconnecting or replacing parts on the hand piece. Selected combinations of tools may be attached to the chain for purposes of providing specific tool sets for any given application which requires a combination of tools.
The present invention may be embodied in another specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive, and the scope of the invention is therefore indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.
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|U.S. Classification||81/177.6, 81/177.8, 81/437|
|International Classification||B25B13/56, B25G1/08, B25F1/04, B25B13/52, B25B23/16|
|Cooperative Classification||B25G1/085, B25B13/56|
|European Classification||B25B13/56, B25G1/08S|
|Jun 9, 1986||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC.,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CRAHAM, CHARLES H.;REEL/FRAME:004558/0966
Effective date: 19851205
Owner name: HOGAN, SCOTT H. BOUNTIFUL, UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004558/0968
Effective date: 19860319
Owner name: HOGAN, SCOTT H.,UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004558/0968
Effective date: 19860319
|Dec 30, 1986||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Oct 26, 1989||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jan 31, 1994||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Feb 10, 1998||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12